Pogoplug media server adds Wi-Fi

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Cloud Engines announced a new version of its Marvell Plug Computer-based Pogoplug NAS and media-sharing device. The Pogoplug Pro adds one major new feature — built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi — and features Pogoplug software enhancements added in recent months, including Android 2.1 and iPad apps as well as cloud-based printing support.

Normally, a one-feature upgrade is not enough to merit a story, but in this case, the product is the popular, Linux-based Pogoplug media server device, and the feature has been sorely in demand: Wi-Fi. As a result, the device can be kept hidden away, and Ethernet cable clutter can be reduced, says Cloud Engines. The Pogoplug Pro also appears to have lost the pink coloring that debuted in its second-generation version, and is now plain old black. Best of all, the device keeps its $99 price tag.

The Pogoplug is arguably the most popular of the many devices that have adopted Marvell’s 1.2GHz, wall-socket pluggable SheevaPlug Plug Computer reference design for network-attached storage (NAS) and remote media access. The second-gen pink version (pictured at right), was announced by Cloud Engines last November at $130, but has since dropped back to the original $99 price. http://www.linuxfordevices.com/images/stories/cloudengines_pogoplug2_thm.jpg The Pogoplug Pro offers all the features of the second-gen Pogoplug, which moved from one USB port to four while adding synchronization, UPnP multimedia sharing, and social networking integration features. Like the original, the device offers a gigabit Ethernet port.

The Pogoplug lets users remotely access the contents of USB-connected hard or flash drives over the Internet, using a browser-based interface. The device supports remote access from a PC, or via a free mobile app on a handheld device such as an Android, Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, or BlackBerry phone. The pogoplug.com web service acts as a control point and conduit, passing data bidirectionally between up to four Pogoplug-connected drives and one or more authorized Internet-connected computers or mobile devices.

Throughout the summer, Cloud Engines has been updating the Pogoplug’s Linux-based firmware and various client apps. In July, it announced a Pogoplug Biz version of the Pogoplug specifically for businesses. The product offers business-specific features such as customizable emails, a custom look and feel, file download and access statistics, and multiple user support, says the company. In August, Cloud Engines started selling a $29 Wi-Fi adapter option, although unlike the new built-in Wi-Fi, this uses up an available USB port. Later that month, the company released an “Android 3.0” app that supports Android 2.1 or later, to replace its earlier version, which topped out at Android 1.6.

The following week, Cloud Engines announced an iPad app, as well as a new cloud printing service for all its client apps, enabling users to remotely print files on a printer connected to the Pogoplug via its cloud web service. Stated Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at the NPD Group, “Pogoplug is a great option for those who want to quickly and securely share personal files over the Internet.”

AvailabilityThe Pogoplug Pro will be coming to Best Buy stores this week for a suggested retail price of $99, says Cloud Engines. More information may be found here.